Tips for Buying a Used Car

One of the biggest investments that people make is the car that they are buying. While we would all like to be driving a Ferrari, the majority of us have much more realistic goals when shopping for a car. There are many factors involved in the used car buying process, and these are a few tips to make it easier to shop for a car.

Search for a car

The first step in the car buying process is considering the type of car or truck you’re looking for. There are several factors to consider before you begin your search. For example the type of driving that you will be doing will play a factor. If you are doing a lot of highway driving, you will want to make sure you get a car with good gas mileage. Or, if you are using the vehicle for work hauling heavy material, you may want to look at a truck or SUV. Other factors to consider is how many people will typically be in the vehicle. If it’s one or two people, a smaller car will fit your needs. However, if you have a family of 4 or 5 people, a larger car, SUV or minivan may be a more practical. Another consideration is the environment. Auto manufacturers are producing more fuel efficient vehicles as well as vehicles that are not solely reliable on gasoline. 

Once you have narrowed your choice to a general category, start doing some research. The internet has several resources that can be beneficial to car buyers. Many research sites offer reviews and comparisons of various types of cars and trucks. Now that you have an idea on the make and model you might be interested in, the next step is finding the car. Another good suggestion would be to check the national crash data for the vehicle you are interested. Resources are available online on crash data.

Many resources exist to find the right car. Most car dealers have website that are interactive, and you have the ability to view the car inventory. You can see what cars are available and at what price. Another source of auto is the local newspaper. Most daily papers still feature large ads for the car dealers featuring a selection of cars that they have in stock, plus a listing of any special deals. And, one of the oldest methods is just going to the car lot and searching for the one you may be interested in.

Vehicle Inspection

So, you’ve done your research and you found the car that you are interested in. Now what? The next step is to take a look at the car. This would include an inspection of the interior, exterior and under the hood of the car, and a test drive.

When test driving a car, there are several items to watch for. They include looking to see if the warning lights go on and off properly, seeing how the car drives, turns, stops and to listen for odd noises. Also, it is important to look and see if any fluids are leaking from the car. One way to do that is to start the car and move it up so that you can see if anything was linking. Another way to find out about a car is through a vehicle history report, which will tell you about the past history of the car, including whether it was involved in any serious accidents.


Everyone has a price in mind when it comes to buying and selling cars. Of course, the seller is thinking of a higher price and the buyer a lower price. Coming to a common ground on the value of the car is important. One of the best ways to determine value of a used auto is through auto valuation services. Several internet sites such as Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds. Knowing the value ahead of time will help give you the knowledge to negotiate a fair price. Using the book value as a benchmark, you can then make a good case for the price you are willing to pay.

Other Concerns

Now that you have a car in mind, inspected the car and successfully negotiated a fair price, you’re ready to buy the car. Just a couple of details to work out and you’ll be on the road. First, how are you going to pay for the car? You have a few choices. You may have saved the money and its available for the purchase, you could be getting money from a relative or you may be borrowing the money from a financial institution. To determine what’s right for you, consider some factors such as the effect of draining a savings account to pay for the purchase. Also, if you are borrowing money, you need to be concerned with the interest rate and monthly payments. A new car is great, but not if you can’t afford it.

Once you complete the purchase, you need to get insurance for the car and register it with the local Department of Motor Vehicles. Completing these steps will get you on the road in your new car.

To help in getting through the car buying process we have collected a listing of resources:

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